By Melanie Holland, CEI Intern.
Less than one percent of high school girls think of computer science as part of their future, even though it’s one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S. today with a projected 4.2 million jobs by 2020, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. 62% of Yahoo employees are men; 70% of Google employees are men.
In order to combat this ‘man’s world’ mentality, Google launched Made with Code. Made With Code is a website that offers opportunities for young girls to get involved with computer science in ways that are fun, and may motivate them to consider computer science careers in the future. A computer ‘code’ is a tool that allows the user to create technology, and communicate ideas through a program.
The website has five distinct features:
Projects section with varying levels of coding difficulty that girls can use right on the site: building a GIF, creating avatars, etc
Mentors section that highlights female role-model techies around the world who use coding in their careers. For example, Erica Kochi who used coding to develop a health communication system for third-world citizens that would send reminders about immunizations and officially register birth certificates
Makers section that highlights young girls who are pursuing their passions through coding. For example, Maddy Maxey who uses coding to digitally design clothes before creating them in real life.
Events section that allows girls to locate coding classes, game workshops, and summer camps in their area
Resources section for parents and teachers, filled with ideas about classroom coding projects and parties
The website itself will be a great tool for computer technology and tech savvy teachers to utilize in the classroom. Though the website is meant to inspire girls to develop an interest in STEM, many of the projects can be adapted to incorporate boys as well. For example, one of the projects allows students to use coding to create beats. An English teacher could use this project to have students write poetry and then develop the beats to match before performing them for the class.
The Made With Code website summarizes the need to get connect girls with STEM curriculum: ‘If women aren’t represented in technology, their ideas, concerns, and designs won’t be included when we create the cities, cars, infrastructure, medicines, communications, companies, and governments of tomorrow.’